re: Are You a Mediocre Developer? ME TOO VIEW POST


I really feel like the outcomes of being good instead of great is pretty favorable in general.

If you reach good status with a lot of hard work, you've reached above average salary for where you live, and you're a pretty solid contributor but you're not the best around... That's a pretty good outcome.

Instead of striving to be better and better and better and better, you may want to strive for maintenance, with less and less effort, allowing your brain more time for general happiness and hobbies.

Don't strive for promotions, strive for making your current contribution level easier.

This is easier said than done, and probably isn't what many people would want (it wouldn't be my thing, for example), but I think there's a stigma against leveling out which is misguided.

Of course, part of maintenance is ongoing learning. You'll regress if you have your head in the sand.


I really feel like the outcomes of being good instead of great is pretty favorable in general.

If this statement were true, the meanings of "good" and "great" would be inverted. Great mandates that the outcomes are superior to being "good," or a claim of "Great' would be false. For example, a "good" chef would not prepare better meals than a "great" chef; A "good" athlete does not perform at a higher level than a "great" athlete; A "good" software developer does not write better code than a "great" software developer.

I believe the confusion in this conversation comes from the idea of "great" being inappropriately conflated with how our industry's media defines a "great" software developer, which by and large are nonsensical definitions. As a case in point, I would have a difficult time maintaining a professional demeanor if I met someone who introduced themselves as a "Passionate 10x Coding Ninja." The very declaration would force me to question the authenticity of even the most humble interpretation of these terms.

Software developers should strive for greatness, but create their own definitions for what that word means to them, and then use that definition to compete with themselves day-by-day as they make small incremental improvements in their craft. To not strive for greatness puts you at risk for mediocrity, which in turn runs the risk of you having no ambition for yourself. While this zen-like existence may be laudable from a spiritual standpoint, it is a liability in a competency-driven profession.

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